Injured in a Bicycle Accident? Choose a Boston Law Firm with more than 25 Years of Experience.
As of the past decade, 15 million bicycles are purchased each year in the US. The reasons? Gas prices continue to soar, and car transportation in major US cities is congested. Therefore, more and more Americans have ditched their automobiles and switched to pedal power. With more bicyclists riding on the busy streets of Boston and Massachusetts overall, the likelihood of an accident with a motor vehicle increases.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 743 bicyclists died in motor vehicle accidents in 2013. An October 11, 2014 article in the Boston Globe entitled “Bike fatalities rise in Greater Boston’s suburbs” reported that:
Collisions involving bicycles in the Greater Boston suburban area increased by 9 percent from 2010 to 2012, while statewide the number jumped 13 percent during the same three-year period, according to a Globe analysis of accident data provided by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Nearly 70 percent of the crashes resulted in injuries.
Additionally, according to the NHTSA, “in 2012, 726 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities and made up 2 percent of the people injured in traffic crashed during the year.” In 2012, the National Safety Council (NSC) calculated the average cost of non-fatal and fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes. The NSC looked at lost wages and productivity, medical expenses, administrative expenses (including legal costs), and vehicle damage. The average cost for nonfatal, disabling injuries came to $78,900. The average cost for fatal injuries came to $1.4 million.
Many states have strict helmet laws, including Massachusetts, which requires all riders under 16 to wear helmets that meet US Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements on any bike, anywhere, at all times. The helmet must fit the rider’s head and the chin strap must be fastened. Riders who wish to avoid the expense or inconvenience of wearing a helmet increase their risk of injury or death in a traffic accident. Approximately 75 percent of all bicycle fatalities were from head injuries, and helmet usage has been estimated to reduce the risk of head injury by an astonishing 85 percent.
Massachusetts also requires bicyclists to use a white headlight and red taillight or rear reflector if the person is riding anytime from a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise. At night, the rider must wear ankle reflectors if there are no reflectors on his pedals. The NHTSA found that many bicycle fatalities occur around nighttime.
Massachusetts is one of the states with the highest rates of bicyclist deaths; as of 2012, the rate is 4.3 percent. This puts Massachusetts behind Florida and California, but before New York, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
Biking is a popular leisure activity and sport in Massachusetts. Many towns have developed bike trails for their residents to enjoy. There are a plethora of bicyclist’s organizations and clubs in the state including MassBike.org. This group advocates for cyclists and the issues that concern them. Another is Rails to Trails Conservancy. It lobbies for unused railroad lines to be converted to hiking and bicycle paths.
The Somerville Bicycle Committee was established in 2001 and works to promote bicycling as a means of transportation, to develop new trails, and to improve safety issues for riders.
Unfortunately bicycle accidents and injuries in Massachusetts are inevitable. Drivers cause many of them, but some are the result of not adhering to safety rules, including wearing helmets, using hand signals, riding on safe paths designated for bicycles, and maintaining an awareness of the surrounding traffic.
Do You Need A Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
If you, or someone you know, have been injured in a Massachusetts bicycle accident, you may be entitled to damages. To speak with a highly experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyer, phone Parker Scheer LLP seven days a week, toll-free at 617-886-0500. There is no fee charged to discuss your case with our personal injury lawyers, and all information furnished, will be kept strictly confidential. Contact us today.
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